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Think tank: IPPR

Author(s): Clare McNeil; Henry Parkes; Kayleigh Garthwaite; Ruth Patrick

May 26, 2021

This report from UK think tank IPPR looks at the rise of working poverty and fixing Britain’s broken social settlement.

In this paper we trace the emergence of a poorly understood social challenge and one which symbolises Britain’s broken ‘social settlement’: the continued rise in working poverty since the beginning of this century. Our welfare system is built on the notion that work is the main route out of poverty and this government has promised to ‘level up’ opportunity through skills, jobs and economic growth. Yet for increasing numbers of working families around the country, the promise of social mobility through ‘hard work’ as a route out of poverty alone is failing to deliver. We argue for greater priority to be given in welfare and economic policy to bringing down the high costs of housing, childcare and other essential goods as a proportion of household income, as well as reforms to genuinely ‘make work pay’.